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Week In Review

By Angela Peco

Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, Media, and General News:


Entertainment

Weinstein Convicted of Rape and Sexual Assault

A jury convicted Weinstein of two counts - criminal sexual assault in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious of the charges against him. He faces a possible sentence of between 5 and 29 years and was remanded to custody until his sentencing hearing on March 11th.


Convicted in New York, Weinstein will next face trial on rape allegations in Los Angeles. The charges stem from accusations made by 2 women about events that happened within a day of each other in 2013. New York prison officials would release Weinstein to the custody of Los Angeles authorities for the duration of his trial there. If he were convicted there as well, he would serve his California sentence after his New York sentence.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-verdict.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/nyregion/harvey-weinstein-los-angeles-trial.html


Hollywood Still a Man's World

Despite major changes in the entertainment industry in the past 2 years, some aspects of it have been slow to change. A large majority of executive positions are held by men. Of the 17% of executive positions in major media companies that are held by women, only 4 of them come from underrepresented groups.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/business/media/harvey-weinstein-hollywood.html


Jussie Smollett Pleads Not Guilty in Repeat Appearance

Charges that the actor staged a hate crime attack on himself and lied to police were revived almost a year after prosecutors in Chicago dropped them. A grand jury indicated Smollett on nearly identical charges. The judge rejected prosecutors' requests for $10,000 bail, saying he was not a flight risk.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/arts/television/jussie-smollett-hate-crime.html


TV's Streaming Boom and the Life of Hollywood Writers

The rise of streaming has been a blessing and a curse. Hollywood writers have welcomed the opportunities that "binge TV" has created, but they are also worried about short seasons and unpredictable schedules. The traditional schedule for a network series with 24 episodes started in May or June, with writers working for most of the year and then taking a 6-week hiatus before the process started again. Streaming platforms, on the other hand, have experimented with shorter and unpredictable seasons, which make it difficult for writers to know where their work is coming from.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/business/media/hollywood-writers-streaming-netflix-amazon-hulu.html


Roman Polanski Wins Best Director at Cesar Awards

Polanski won best directing for his film "An Officer and a Spy" at France's Cesar Awards. The win prompted several women in the audience to walk out in protest, as Polanski's rape accusations continue to hang over him. Meanwhile, Polanski's cast and production team, and Polanski himself, boycotted the Cesars after France's Culture Minister said the success of a director accused of a sexual violence would send the wrong message in the MeToo era.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/02/28/arts/28reuters-awards-cesars.html


French Actress Adele Haenel Says France "Missed the Boat" on #MeToo

Haenel was the first high profile actress to speak out over abuse in the French movie industry, and she is now calling on the judicial system to change how it treats victims of sexual violence. As a young woman, Haenel says she was sexually harassed and subjected to inappropriate contact, and that many in the industry continue to blur the line between sexual behavior and abuse.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/movies/adele-haenel-france-metoo.html


Arts

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Changes Painting's History to Reflect Former Jewish Owner

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) now acknowledges that Eustache Le Sueur's "Rape of Tamar" was owned by a Jewish art dealer, Siegfried Aram, who fled Germany in 1933. Aram fought for decades to reclaim his painting, arguing that the person who bought his home took the painting. It is not clear if Aram has heirs, and the Met did not state whether anyone has come forward to make a claim.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/arts/design/Metropolitan-Museum-Jewish-Owner.html


Feminist Cookbook on "Rage Baking" Fuels Outrage and Criticism

The book was meant to celebrate female activism, but what it actually did is spark a conversation about race, feminism, and appropriation. The cookbook builds on a phrase popularized by Tangerine Jones, a black home baker in Brooklyn, who was not included or credited in the book. Jones questioned why she was not contacted if the book was celebrating feminist women's voices, and when she herself had been closely associated with the term.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/dining/rage-baking-book-tangerine-jones.html


Fashion Institute of Technology Model Refuses to Wear Racist Accessories

Two school administrators were suspended over the styling of a fashion show after a school graduate took their suggestion and purchased racist accessories that included oversize lips and monkey ears. A 25-year-old model walking in the show said she refused to wear the accessories even after the show's director pressured her to. The school's president said that it had commissioned an independent investigation of the incident.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/nyregion/fit-racist-fashion-show.html


Fashion Mogul Peter Nygard Will Step Down Following FBI Raids

Under investigation for rape, Nygard will step down as chairman and divest ownership of his company, Nygard International. His brand was already dropped by Dillard's department stores following a raid on his company's Manhattan headquarters by a joint child exploitation task force. Four young women claim that Nygard raped them in the Bahamas as teenagers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/peter-nygard-international-fbi-raid.html


Placido Domingo Walks Back Apology Over Harassment Claims

In his first statement this week, Domingo apologized to the women who have come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct and said he took responsibility for his actions. Later in the week, he said his apology was sincere, but that he has never behaved aggressively toward anybody, nor has he tried to obstruct anyone's career.


In related news, Domingo was reportedly in talks to pay the performers' union around $500,000 to limit its statements about its investigation into Domingo's actions. Details of that investigation were leaked before the union released the results of its inquiry and the deal fell part.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/arts/music/placido-domingo-apology.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/arts/music/placido-domingo-sexual-misconduct.html


Former Baltimore Mayor, Catherine Pugh, Sentenced to 3 Years in Book Fraud

Pugh was sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal crimes related to bulk sales of her children's books to non-profit organizations and foundations that did business or were seeking to do business with the city. She also frequently failed to deliver the books after accepting payment for them, and sometimes sold copies of the same set to 2 different buyers. Pugh admitted to using the money to fund her mayor campaigns and buy a second home.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/catherine-pugh-sentencing.html


Sports

Chinese Olympic Swimmer, Sun Yang, Gets 8-Year Doping Ban

The decision by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) will keep the 3-time Olympic swimming champion from competing in the next Olympics, and likely end his career. The World Anti-Doping Agency brought a complaint against Sun at CAS after the sport's international governing body declined to penalize him for refusing to cooperate with antidoping officials who tried to retrieve blood and urine samples. The CIS found that Sun had failed to establish a compelling justification to destroy his sample collection containers, and therefore violated rules governing efforts to tamper with doping procedures. Sun's position had been that the collection process was non-compliant, as the testers were unprofessional and lacked the appropriate paperwork.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/sports/olympics/sun-yang-doping-ban.html


Polish-American Fencer's Attempt at Nation-Switching is Blocked

Fencer Aleksandra Shelton has competed for Poland in the last 4 Olympics, but she says that she experienced age and gender discrimination from Polish fencing officials, who reduced support for her after she became pregnant. A dual citizen, Shelton has competed as an American since January 2019.

Under Olympic rules, athletes must wait 3 years before changing countries to compete in the Olympics, unless they receive a special waiver, which Poland declines to grant in this case. Given that she has already competed as an American and switched national affiliation once, she also cannot compete for Poland. Shelton has appealed to the CAS, but no hearing date has been set. The United States fencing team will be chosen in April. Officials with the fencing federation disagree with the characterization that they "discarded" her, and say her efforts are rooted in strategy, not unfair treatment.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/22/sports/olympics/fencing-poland.html


Russia's Appeal May Delay Olympic Ban

Russia's appeal of its 4-year ban from global sports means that the ban might not be enforced until after this year's Tokyo Games. Russia has appealed to the CAS to overturn or reduce the ban it received last year from the World Anti-Doping Agency. A number of organizations with an interest in the outcome (including some that are considered friendly to Russia) have written letters and are making so-called interventions related to the case, so much so that the volume has reportedly slowed the arbitration process. The letters include questions of procedure and requests for clarification. The CAS has set aside 5 days for a hearing in April and May.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/sports/olympics/russia-olympic-ban-cas.html


Coronavirus Outbreak Threatens Soccer

The coronavirus outbreak in Italy (and the rest of Europe) is expected to interfere with the soccer schedule. The country's domestic leagues have suspended all their games and Inter Milan played without spectators to restrict public gatherings. Other European countries are contemplating similar solutions, while Chinese clubs are not expected to play until at least May.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/world/europe/coronavirus-soccer.html


Australian Rules Football Linked to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Researchers have, for the first time, found Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in a player of Australian rules football, considered the country's national sport. The co-author of the report had previously found CTE in the brains of 2 former rugby league players. A growing number of players have recently gone public about their declining health and there is talk of lawsuits against the league to win medical benefits for retired players.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/sports/australian-rules-football-cte.html


Japan Closes Schools Over Coronavirus Fears

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reacting aggressively by asking that all of the country's schools close for a month. Japan is under pressure to act decisively to control the virus and save the Tokyo Olympics.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/world/asia/japan-schools-coronavirus.html


Media

Censorship in the Time of an Epidemic

China has been widely criticized for the way it played down negative news about the virus in state-controlled media. U.S. efforts to contain the virus and keep the public well-informed also risk faltering if campaign messaging outweighs medical expertise. Last week, the White House announced that Vice President Pence's office will control all coronavirus messaging from health officials after the president took issue with how news media was characterizing the threat. That means that the Pence's office will coordinate all statements and public appearances of government health officials and scientists. A union representing 2 million health care workers cautioned against downplaying the epidemic's severity and urged the administration to "reverse course and allow public health experts to lead a nationally coordinated response."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/health/coronavirus-pence-messaging.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/us/politics/trump-accuses-media-democrats-coronavirus.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-cdc.html


8chan Founder Faces Arrest on 'Cyberlibel' Charge

Although he has distanced himself from the message board, founder Fredrick Brennan is facing arrest in the Philippines after the site's current owner, Jim Watkins, complained that Brennan had libeled him when he tweeted that Watkins was "senile" and called the site's moderators "incompetent." Cyberlibel is a criminal offence in the Philippines, where Brennan lives. Brennan has also criticized the site for giving a platform to racist material.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/technology/8chan-fredrick-brennan-libel.html


Trump Campaign Sues the New York Times for Libel

The lawsuit is over a 2019 opinion article, headlined "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo," which was written by Max Frankel. Trump's re-election campaign alleges that the article falsely asserted that the Trump campaign and Russian officials "had an overarching deal" - help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton in return for a pro-Russia foreign policy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/business/media/trump-new-york-times-lawsuit.html


White Supremacists Charged with Harassing Journalists and Activists

Federal prosecutors charged 5 people with ties to a neo-Nazi group with engaging in a campaign to intimidate and harass. The arrests are part of a broader crackdown on violent white supremacists. One man is accused of harassment through a tactic known as "swatting," calling police and falsely reporting an imminent threat, which the authorities then respond to in force.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/us/atomwaffen-division-arrests.html


Julian Assange Faces Extradition Hearing

The WikiLeaks founder appeared in a London court to fight the U.S. government's attempts to extradite him to the U.S. Assange has been indicted on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in obtaining and publishing military and diplomatic documents.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/world/europe/julian-assange-extradition-trial.html


Democratic Candidate Michael Bloomberg is Upending Social Media

The billionaire former mayor of New York is rewriting the rules for political campaigns on social media, spending an exorbitant amount of money to promote his candidacy. As an example, his campaign hired 500 people at $2,500 a month to spend 20 to 30 hours a week recruiting family and friends to write supportive posts on social media. However, social media companies are on high alert over disinformation and political advertisements. Last week, Twitter announced that it was suspending over 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts for violating its policies on "platform manipulation and spam," as one of its rules states, in part, that "you can't artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/22/technology/bloomberg-social-media.html


Major Technology Companies Rebel Against Pakistan's Censorship Rule

Through a group called Asia Internet Coalition, the companies wrote a letter to Pakistan's prime minister threatening to leave the country and its 70 million internet users. The move came after Pakistan passed sweeping rules on internet censorship, which would give regulators the power to order that certain content be taken down. The government could also demand that companies prevent live streaming of content that authorities label as false or objectionable. In response, government officials said that they will launch broad-based consultations.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/technology/pakistan-internet-censorship.html


Month-Long Trial Begins in Slovakian Journalist's Murder

Jan Kuciac's murder implicated Slovakian businessman Marian Kocner, who now stands accused of ordering the murder after the journalist linked him to political corruption and organized crime. Kuciak and his fiancée's murder shocked the country and led to widespread protests and the resignation of Prime Minister Fico. The trial is exposing how Kocner built his businesses by using intimidation, bribery, and political connections. A former soldier has admitted to being the hit man and is cooperating with the prosecution.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/world/europe/jan-kuciak-marian-kocner-trial.html


General News

Supreme Court Rules for U.S. Agent in Shooting of Mexican Teenager

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court ruled against the parents of a Mexican teenager who was killed by an American border agent shooting across the Mexican border. The Court said that Congress had not authorized lawsuits over cross-border shootings and that the 1971 case of Bivens v Six Unknown Named Agents should not be extended lightly to new contexts, even though it said that congressional authorization is not always required in suits claiming violations of constitutional rights.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/supreme-court-mexico-shooting-death-penalty.html


Supreme Court Weighs Whether "Encouraging" Unlawful Immigration is a Crime

At issue is whether a 1986 federal law that makes it a crime to "encourage" unauthorized immigration impinges on First Amendment rights. The government lawyer defending the law said the statute was not aimed at speech and should be read narrowly, but several justices questioned whether the ordinary meaning of "encourage" could subject people in countless situations to criminal liability.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/supreme-court-immigration-first-amendment.html


Supreme Court Takes Up Case on Abuse of the No-Fly List

Three Muslim men allege that the FBI put them on the No-Fly List as a way of pressuring them into becoming informants on their own communities in part because of their religious beliefs. They allege that the agents violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which is a law aimed at ensuring that the government had compelling reasons to substantially burden anyone's exercise of religion. Part of the law provides for "appropriate relief against a government," without defining what type of relief may be available. The question for the Court is whether Congress meant to allow claims for money. The government says that agents tried to obtain assistance from the men in connection with investigations that implicated both national security and immigration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/supreme-court-case-no-fly-list.html


Supreme Court to Hear Case on Foster Care Policy that Excludes Gay Couples

The Court will consider whether Philadelphia can exclude a Catholic adoption agency from its foster care system. The agency, which is against placing children with same-sex couples, sued the city after it stopped placements with the agency, arguing that the decision violated its First Amendment rights to religious freedom and free speech.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/supreme-court-gay-rights-foster-care.html


Supreme Court Weighing Constitutionality of Oregon's Non-Unanimous Verdicts

Oregon is the last state in the U.S. where a jury can convict without a unanimous vote. Felony criminal convictions in all other states require unanimous verdicts. The Court is expected to hand down a decision soon. The case involves a murder conviction from Louisiana, which allowed split verdicts until 2 years ago. The decision will also decide the future of split juries in Oregon, where the district attorneys' association and the criminal defense bar take the position that the law is deeply flawed and may have sent innocent people in jail. However, the Oregon attorney general filed an amicus brief favour of continuing non-unanimous verdicts, saying that ending them would lead to legal chaos and new trials in previously settled criminal cases would re-traumatize victims.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/us/oregon-court-case-verdicts.html


President Trump Demands That Two Liberal Justices Recuse Themselves from His Cases

Trump's comments pertained to Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. At a news conference in India, the president alleged that both Democratically appointed justices are biased against him. He also called for an investigation into Adam Schiff, who Trump says leaked information provided to the House Intelligence Committee from intelligence officials.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/trump-supreme-court.html


Court Rules That Trump Can Withhold Money from Sanctuary States

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan was the first to side with the administration on the issue of whether the federal government can impose conditions when distributing grant money. One of these conditions entails tying grant money to state and local governments' cooperation with federal immigrant authorities. The case was brought by New York and 7 other states after the Justice Department said that it would withhold money from cities that denied immigrant authorities access to jails.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/nyregion/sanctuary-cities-funding.html


House Democrats Launch Inquiry into Political Interference at the Justice Department

The Judiciary Committee is looking into improper political interference at the department and has requested records and interviews with U.S. attorneys after four prosecutors who quit the case say senior government officials intervened to reverse their recommendations and suggest a shorter sentence for Roger Stone, Trump's long-time ally. The Committee was careful not to characterize the request as the beginning of a new investigation, saying instead it was part of routine oversight.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/us/politics/political-interference-doj.html


Long-Standing Tension Between District of Columbia Prosecutors and Administration Officials

The New York Times reports that tensions between the White House and the Washington office, which operates separately from the main Justice Department, date back to at least last summer when the office's investigation of former FBI official Andrew McCabe began to fall apart and 2 separate teams failed to deliver a grand jury indictment. U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu's relationship with Attorney General Barr grew strained and she left the office. Prosecutors now worry that Barr is continuing to intervene in sensitive cases for political reasons, even though he has publicly pushed back against the President's efforts to interfere.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/us/politics/justice-department-dc-prosecutors.html


Judge in Roger Stone Case Warns About Attacks on Juror

Judge Amy Berman Jackson's warning that public anger toward a guilty verdict could prompt someone to attack members of the jury came during a hearing on the defense's request for a new trial. Stone's lawyers argued that misconduct by a juror required a new trial, and President Trump tweeted that the jury's forewoman had a bias against him and Stone. A ruling has not been issued yet.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/roger-stone-jury-bias.html


President Trump Nominates John Ratcliffe as Director of National Intelligence

The Republican Congressman from Texas would replace Richard Grenell, who has filled the position on an acting basis since Dan Coats stepped down in August. Ratcliffe was previously considered for the job last summer, but senior Republicans in Congress deemed him unqualified for the job.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/us/politics/john-ratcliffe-director-national-intelligence.html


Wall Street Suffers Worst Week Since 2008 Financial Crisis

Coronavirus fears drove stocks down as the virus continues to put pressure on businesses and supply chains, especially in China, the world's second-largest economy after the U.S. The outbreak could also crush consumer demand as people avoid travel, and oil prices have tumbled as a result.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/business/stock-market-today-coronavirus.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/business/stock-market-coronavirus.html Whistleblower Says U.S. Health Care Workers Responding to Coronavirus Lacked Training and Protective Gear

A government whistleblower says the team of health care workers deployed to 2 military bases in California to assist evacuated Americans interacted with those individuals without proper medical training or protective gear. The person says that some of the exposed staff members then scattered into the general population and took commercial flights, all as a result of a lack of coordination by Health and Human Services.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/coronavirus-us-whistleblower.html


Bill Would Require Anti-Government Critic in More Surveillance Cases

After a concerning inspector general report about wiretapping practices in the Trump-Russia inquiry, a new bill that reauthorizes counterintelligence powers would require an intelligence court to appoint an outsider to critique the government's arguments. This will be done in cases when national security investigators seek wiretap orders that could impact political campaigns.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/bill-surveillance-carter-page-fisa.html


Appeals Court Rejects "Remain in Mexico" Policy

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction blocking the policy that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their cases are decided, which could take months or years. The policy was rolled out in early 2019 and since then, over 59,000 asylum applicants have been turned back into Mexican border cities.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/us/migrants-court-remain-in-mexico-mpp-injunction.html


Fees to Appeal Deportation Orders Increase to Nearly $1,000

The new fee schedule contains a nearly tenfold increase in what it costs to go to court to challenge a deportation order. The arm of the Justice Department that proposed the new fees says immigrants should pay a greater share of costs and that "U.S. taxpayers do not bear a disproportionate burden in funding the immigrant system." Asylum seekers would have to pay $50 fee to have their cases heard in court. The article points out that historically, access to the asylum process was available regardless of ability to pay.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/immigration-court-deportation-appeals.html


Justice Department Establishes Office to Denaturalize Immigrants

The new office will strip citizenship rights from naturalized immigrants. The head of the Justice Department's civil division said the move "underscores the department's commitment to bring justice to terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders and other fraudsters who illegally obtained naturalizations." Lawyers worry that denaturalization lawsuits could be brought against immigrants who have not committed serious crimes, and that the move reinforces the idea that naturalized citizens have fewer rights than those born in the United States.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/us/politics/denaturalization-immigrants-justice-department.html


Numbers of Extraditions to U.S. From Mexico Have Soared

At least 30 suspects have been extradited this year. In 2019, 58 suspects were extradited to the U.S., with 69 sent in 2018 and 57 in 2017. The increase is believed to be a result of the Trump administration's efforts to push Mexico for more cooperation and its threat to designate drug traffickers as terrorists because of the high number of Americans killed by their activities. Analysts interpreted the threat as a way to force Mexican authorities to strengthen their fight against criminal groups.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/world/americas/mexico-extraditions-william-barr.html


Legal Immigration Starting to Plunge

Legal immigration has fallen by more than 11% and a steeper drop is expected. Analysts say that the drop can be attributed to President Trump's immigration policies, including travel bans and visa restrictions. Administration officials have consistently said that the U.S. should have a merit-based system, not the family-based system that has allowed immigrants to bring their spouses and children.

At a private event in England last week, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said that the U.S. desperately needs immigrants to fuel future economic growth, but that the country wanted them in a legal fashion.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/politics/trump-border-legal-immigration.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/business/economy/immigration-economy-mulvaney-trump.html


Greyhound Will No Longer Allow Border Patrol Agents to Conduct Immigrant Checks on Buses Without Warrants

The bus company announced the new policy after a leaked government memo revealed that Border Patrol agents could not board buses and question passengers without warrants or the company's consent. The policy would also apply to terminal areas that are not open to the general public.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/22/us/greyhound-border-patrol.html


Tribal Nation Condemns Border Wall

Native American leaders are warning of the environmental and archaeological threats posed by the Trump administration's scramble to build a border wall in southern Arizona. Federal courts allowed the administration to waive dozens of laws protecting endangered species and Native American burial sites, with work crews destroying protected 200-year-old cactuses in the Sonoran Desert and blasting dynamite through lands assigned the highest degree of permanent protection by Congress.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/us/border-wall-cactuses-arizona.html?searchResultPosition=2


National Security Agency Phone Program Cost $100 Million But Only Produced Two Leads

A newly declassified study says that the program yielded only one significant investigation, despite costing $100 million and giving the National Security Agency access to logs of Americans' domestic calls and texts. The program generated unique information that the FBI did not already have in only 2 cases. The report did not reveal the nature or outcome of the investigation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/nsa-phone-program.html


Education Department Orders University of Southern California to Address Systemic Failures in Responding to Sexual Misconduct Cases

The Department found "systemic failures" in the school's response to abuse allegations against former gynecologist George Tyndall. In its agreement with the University of Southern California, it requires the university to review the conduct of current and former employees involved in the Tyndall matter to determine if discipline is warranted. It will also monitor the school's compliance with an element of the agreement that requires improved training and procedures related to Title IX complaints.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/politics/devos-usc-sexual-misconduct.html


Democrats Block Abortion-Related Bills After McConnell Scheduled Votes

Senate Democrats blocked action on legislation that would bar most abortions after 20 weeks and impose criminal penalties on doctors who fail to aggressively treat babies born after abortions. It is widely viewed that Senator McConnell scheduled the vote to energize social conservatives and force centrist Democrats who are up for re-election to take a position on the issue.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/politics/abortion-bill-votes.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/democrats-abortion-bills-republicans.html


Conservative Group Making Recommendations on Composition of Trump Administration

Conservative lobbyists, including the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, have targeted officials in the administration and recommended their own picks for key roles. They repeatedly pass names of possible appointments to personnel officials, people who they say are loyal to President Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/politics/trump-purge-ginni-thomas.html


Drug Company Mallinckrodt Reaches $1.6 Billion Deal to Settle Opioid Lawsuit

The agreement was endorsed by 47 states and the money will be paid into a cash trust used to underwrite the costs of opioid addition treatments and related efforts. The company is the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the U.S. and sold more opioids than any other during the height of the crisis.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/health/mallinckrodt-opioid-settlement.html


Four Cellphone Carriers Face $200 Million Fine for Not Protecting Users' Location Data

The Federal Communications Commission approved the fine after it found the carriers had violated a section of the Telecommunications Act requiring them to protect the confidentiality of customers' call information. T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint sold customers' location data to companies that allowed it be used by rogue law enforcement officers, among others.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/28/technology/fcc-cellphones-location-data-fines.html


Texas Teacher Who Was Suspended for Showing Photo of her Wife Reaches $100,000 Settlement

Stacy Bailey said the settlement should send a message to other school districts about the dangers of intolerance toward the LGBTQ community. After Bailey introduced herself to her students with a slide show of her family and friends, including her future wife, a parent complained that she was "promoting the homosexual agenda." She was suspended for 8 months and filed a lawsuit accusing the district of discriminating against her because of her sexual orientation.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/us/stacy-bailey-mansfield-teacher.html


First Woman Set to Pass Special Forces Training and Join the Green Berets

A National Guard soldier whose name has not been disclosed is set to become the Army's first female Green Beret. She is expected to graduate as a Special Forces engineer sergeant.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/us/politics/first-women-special-forces-green-berets.html


Finance Ministers Issue Statement About the Economic Threat of Climate Change

The United States agreed to including a reference to a climate change in the official G20 statement, reportedly under pressure from Europe to publicly recognize the "financial stability implications of climate change." The reference seemed to have been a middle ground, as European leaders were pushing for a more assertive pronouncement.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/us/politics/g20-climate-change.html


JPMorgan Chase Unveil Climate Initiatives

The U.S. bank said that it would not support future oil and gas projects in the Arctic, as part of a broad initiative to combat climate change and promote renewable energy.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/02/24/business/24reuters-jp-morgan-investor-day-climatechange.html

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/02/27/business/bc-us-jp-morgan-oil-response.html


Oil Industry Tool Not Always Effective in Sparing Polar Bears

The issue of oil drilling in the Arctic implicates the wellbeing of polar bears and oil companies are relying on a state-of-the-art tool to avoid injuring or disturbing polar bears by detecting the bears' dens in the snow. However, results from over a decade of use show that oil companies located fewer than half of the known dens using these airborne instruments called forward-looking infrared cameras. Conservation groups want oil companies to be aware of the limitations of the tool and that undetected dens could be disturbed or even crushed during seismic surveys.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/climate/polar-bears-arctic-national-wildlife-reserve.html


Drought, Fire, Deluge: The Climate Crisis in Australia

Australia's increasingly volatile climate is a perfect illustration of what scientists call "compound extremes," when one catastrophe intensifies the next. This multiplier effect led the country to experience a drought, then devastating bush fires, and then a foot of rain from a tropical storm. It showed how warm temperatures result in worse droughts, giving way to fires, then to rains that the land is too dry to absorb. It also means that rebuilding after a disaster becomes even more complicated.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/world/australia/climate-change-extremes.html


China Bans Trade and Consumption of Wildlife

China announced it will immediately ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. An initial suspension was put in place in January. Scientists suspect that COVID-19 originated in animals, because the earliest infections were linked to a wildlife market in Wuhan, where bats, civets, and other animals were sold.

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/02/24/world/asia/24reuters-china-health-wildlife.html


Coronavirus Weakens China's Propaganda Machine

The coronavirus outbreak might be one of the biggest challenges to the government's legitimacy in decades. While Beijing is pushing messages of unity and sacrifice, online, people are openly criticizing both the government and state media for being slow to disclose the threat in the first place, censoring those who spoke out about the virus, and now failing to show the reality of overworked front-line medical workers who lack protective gear and risk infection themselves.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/business/china-coronavirus-propaganda.html


Coronavirus Clears Tourist Sites Across Asia

After the outbreak shut down travel in the region, popular tourist sites, hotels, and shops are deserted. The toll it is taking on global tourism has economists predicting that the epidemic could be the biggest drag on global economic growth since the financial crisis.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/travel/coronavirus-asia-tourism.html


Dire Conditions in Syria's Rebel-Held Province

Nearly a million residents have been driven toward the border with Turkey following the government's assault on the last rebel-held territory, Idlib Province. Those fleeing the area are taking shelter in overcrowded camps in the rural countryside and most lack the most basic necessities in of the worst humanitarian emergencies of the war, which has displaced 13 million people.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/world/middleeast/syria-idlib-refugees.html

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